Friday, November 12, 2004

Virgin Bites Sour Apple

Back in August I posted on the attempt by VirginMega, Virgin's French online music venture, to get Apple to license their FairPlay DRM system. Apple has refused licensing so far, which leaves music formats such as WMA unplayable on their MP3 market dominating iPod. This refusal brought RealNetworks to develop Harmony, and VirginMega to complain to the French competition watch dog.

The path of technical code has proven to be more effective, now RealNetworks has been lauded as consumers' best friend, and VirginMega finds its complaint rejected, The Register reports:
The French government's competition watchdog this week dismissed a complaint brought by VirginMega, which alleged Apple's refusal to license FairPlay ran contrary to French anti-trust law.

The retailers complaint was ruled to be short on convincing evidence, the watchdog ruled. In any case, it said, Apple's refusal to license FairPlay was on no way hampering the expansion of the digital music download market - growth indicated by the huge number of rivals popping up to compete with the iTunes Music Store.


The watchdog admitted, however, that the lack of compatibility between rival music services and players did put consumers at a "disadvantage", but that fact was beyond the scope of its enquiry.


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